I’ve finally done it! Below is a complete list of everything Nick & I bring with us around the world. This is everything we need to live, travel and work pretty much anywhere on Earth, and it all fits in two Tom Bihn backpacks and one purse. No Mary Poppins magic required.

Clothes (Kit)

Digital Nomad Packing

This is a picture of me holding all of my clothes. Yup, all of them. WAIT! Before you dismiss me as some crazy minimalist hippie, keep reading. I really do have clothes for every occasion (I pack three dresses, people!) and I can look quite stylish when I want to. The secret is packing items that are easy to mix & match. Just like every women’s magazine ever told you. Also: compression sacks.

We’ve been through how ladies should pack clothes before, but now here it is, in complete list format! This is all the clothing I need to look good whether I’m hiking in a hot rainforest or going to an opera:

– Four bottoms: jeans, leggings, capri leggings, tights
– Three dresses: fun day dress, LBD, “fancy” dress
– Two shirts: one “performance” Icebreaker, one cute one from H&M
– Four shoes: hiking boots, TOMS, nice flats, sandals
– Three jackets: wool sweater, ultralight raincoat, warm coat
– Swimsuit
– Sarong (obviously!)
– Three bras: two regular, one sport
– Hat, gloves, Buff scarf

Digital Nomad Packing Clothes Women

Note: I left all these clothes in a compression sack for over 24 hours before pulling them out for this photo shoot. As you can see, wrinkles aren’t really a problem with the right gear.

I also carry three pairs of socks, eight pairs of performance underwear and a travel towel in a small compression sack, pictured here.

Clothes (Nick)

Digital Nomad  Packing Clothes Men

Nick’s compression sack is much smaller than mine because, as a guy, he just doesn’t need as much stuff. You stylish gentlemen out there can obviously bring more (just look at my packing list above!) but this is the bare minimum a digital nomad dude needs to look good, whether he’s in a nice restaurant or on the trail:

– Two bottoms: jeans, shorts
– Four shirts: two Icebreaker performance t-shirts, one nice collared shirt, one long sleeved shirt
– Two jackets: warm coat & ultralight raincoat
– Two shoes: nice-looking hiking shoes & sandals
– Bathing suit
– Hat, gloves, Buff scarf
– Three performance boxers
– Three socks


Digital Nomad Toiletries

I think you’ll see from the lists below that neither Nick nor I skimp when it comes to pampering ourselves with lotions, beauty products and other good stuff.

Liquids Bag (Kit)
– Shampoo/conditioner
– Face wash
– Face exfoliant
– Face lotion with SPF
– Nighttime face lotion
– Acne spot treatment
– Argan oil
– Eye cream
– Hydrocortisone cream
– Neosporin
– Mascara
– Toothpaste
– Hand sanitizer

Liquids Bag (Nick)
– Toothpaste
– Contact solution
– Eye drops
– Exfoliant
– Lotion
– Shampoo/conditioner
– Sunscreen

Non-Liquid Toiletries (Kit)
– Soap
– Hairbrush
– Deodorant
– Glasses
– Razor
Travel medical kit
– Contacts
– Hair ties & clips
Bug bite stick
– Anti-chafing stick
– Makeup bag (powder makeup)
– Jewelry
– Tampons
– Birth control pills

Non-Liquid Toiletries (Nick)
– Soap
– Deodorant
– Contacts
– Electric razor
– Hair clippers
– Inhaler
– Dental floss


Digital Nomad Electronics

The “digital” part of the “digital nomad” title! Just because we travel all the time doesn’t mean we don’t spend endless hours staring at screens.

– MacBook Air (Kit) & MacBook (Nick) with chargers and international plug adapters
– Nikon DSLR
Portable hard drive
– Nintendo 3DS
– Sonicare toothbrush with two brush heads
WiFi Extender
– Two iPhones
– Two Kindles
– USB car charger (for charging iPhones in rental cars)
– Small USB charging cables for everything except the DSLR

Other Gear

– One REI Flashpack daypack (Nick)
– One Sea to Summit packable daypack (Kit)
– One packable tote bag
– Two Platypus packable water bottles
– Electronic wipes
– Lint roller
– Other stuff I carry in my purse: sunglasses, ibuprofen, band aids, pen, chapstick, lipstick, wallet, business cards, passports, nail clippers & a nail file

Digital Nomad Packing

All that and I still have room to spare! Which is good because I tend to pick up stuff that I then lug around for a few months until one of my semi-annual purges gets me back to basics. We’ve been doing this for almost four years now and I rarely feel I lack any of the comforts of modern life.

Even if you aren’t a digital nomad by trade, I hope this packing list helps you decide what to bring and – more importantly – what to leave behind. Packing light isn’t as hard as you think. With the right gear, you can travel like a digital nomad without sacrificing a thing. Good luck and please leave comments and questions below!

  • @TravelEater

    Love it! I’m embarking on a 6-9 month trip in a couple months, and want to be comfortable and don’t want to carry a lot. You’ve inspired me that I can pack small and not regret it!

    • Kit

      Woohoo! That was my goal with this post. I know you can do it! Thanks Johanna :)

  • Leela

    1. What’s the longest duration you’ve travelled with this amount of gear?

    2. Do you typically stay in hostles and similar? I do not see much survival/camping/food gear so I’m just wondreing. Your back pack is relatively small though so I would imagine if we needed the other gear, we’d just need a bag to accomodate those items (tent, sleeping bag, etc.)

    thanks again for sharing!!

    • Kit

      1. Well, I visit Maryland every December for time with the family, but I don’t really keep much extra stuff there. Just a box in Nick’s parents’ basement with some snow gear and a couple holiday party outfits. So really I guess you could say I’ve been traveling with some variant of this packing list for almost four years. I just update it once in a while when I get holes in my jeans or have worn out a dress. At the very least I go 10 months without changing much of anything.

      2. We mostly rent rooms or apartments on Airbnb. Like you said, if we wanted to spend a lot of time camping or multi-day trekking we’d need more specialized packs to carry a tent and other gear. I can wear my backpack for well over an hour without hurting my shoulders, but I couldn’t hike 20+ miles in it. When we feel like spending time in nature we can, but we just carry a daypack and we’ll sleep in a bed at night. Or at the very least a hut. :)

      Thanks Leela!

  • Erin

    This is a great list!! Inspiration for how to pack for shorter trips too!!

    • Kit

      Thanks Erin! Inspiration was my goal :)

  • http://suzyguese.com/ Suzy

    This is great. I love how you took photos of all of the outfits. For me, packing always boils down to making sure everything is interchangeable and can be worn together. Looks like you got it down!

    • Kit

      Exactly! Thanks Suzy :)

    • http://colleenbrynntravels.com/ Colleen Brynn

      I agree with you, Suzy! I try to make sure all of my clothes can be swapped around to make as many outfits as possible. I can get bored with my clothes when I’m traveling. They have to be versatile and functional, and yes, pretty too!

  • http://brianvp.net Brian

    I’ve been researching new luggage for a trip around the world in 2013 and have come across your blog multiple times when researching the Tom Bihn Aeronaut. Looks like a great pack! Trying to decide if I want to go that route or get a proper travel backpack which will have more substantial shoulder straps.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Kit

      If you’ll be doing any multi-day trekking or a lot of camping the Aeronaut is probably not the best decision. If, however, you plan on sleeping in beds most nights and only carrying your pack in between destinations, then it’s the best pack in the world!

      Thanks Brian!

      • Rachel

        Hi! Just came across your blog while looking for reviews on the Aeronaut for long-term travel.

        My plan is SEA travel for an undetermined amount of time. I plan most nights to be in beds, however, there could always be an unexpected change in plans. Can elaborate on why it might not be the best choice for multi-day trekking/camping? Would be great to know…just in case!

        Thanks for all your great info!!

        • Kit Whelan

          Hi Rachel, sounds like an awesome trip!

          The Aeronaut is just not made for trekking. It’s essentially a nice-looking duffel bag with backpack straps. It doesn’t have any back support, so the weight is entirely on your shoulders. This is fine for a few hours, but definitely not ideal for long hikes and camping.

          Usually I’m just carrying it from an apartment to a plane and then onto public transportation, so it’s fine for me. But if you plan on carrying all your gear into the bush for some camping I’d probably recommend something a bit sturdier.

          Good luck!

          • Rachel

            Thank you!!! Really helpful.

  • http://www.gettingstamped.com Hannah @ Getting Stamped

    Great post! We leave for our RTW trip 6/29/13 and still are arguing over what to bring and how much clothes I can bring! Everyone’s packing is so different! I am glad to see you have jeans, because that’s a must for me!

    • Kit

      I *love* jeans even though they’re not a “smart” pack. Really skinny jeans don’t take up too much space. And they go with so much stuff!

      Packing for a RTW can seem so daunting, but once you’re on the road you’ll realize you never needed all that other stuff anyway! Good luck :)

  • http://toblerhaus.wordpress.com/ Amanda

    I’m curious about how your carry your camera. What do you use to protect it? In which part of your bag do you carry it? Do you carry more than one lens? I’m working really hard on transitioning my family to one bag travel, but my tech gear seems to be my biggest challenge. I want to travel light, but I also love my geeky gadgets!

    • Kit

      We’ve only got one lens. I’d love to have more but it certainly wouldn’t be easy to carry with our ultralight lifestyle. We keep the camera & lens in a semi-soft case (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000LDMTSW/ref=cm_sw_su_dp) in the main pocket of Nick’s Tom Bihn Aeronaut and it’s been fine. We’ve had it for four years and never had any problems carrying it this way. They’re pretty tough :)

      Gadgets are the hardest thing to lighten up on, but there is a solution to everything! Unless you want to bring a few lenses and then you should probably lighten up on everything else to make room. Good luck!

  • Beth

    I just found your website via Lifehacker. I am very impressed by your packing skills! Do you find certain materials better for packing/endurance or do the compression sacks you have prevent wrinkles whatever the material? I love the outfits you’ve shown: very colourful and not the usual neutrals usually recommended.

    I can’t wait to read the rest of your posts!

    • Kit Whelan

      Wow, thanks Beth!

      I’ve definitely found that clothes with a bit of stretch shake out the wrinkles much more quickly. My longer-sleeve Patagonia dress is 100% polyester and it is impossible to wrinkle that thing, but the other dresses are organic cotton and the wrinkles will go away after wearing it once.

      As for the other clothes – I basically live in stretchy leggings or jeans, and those don’t wrinkle. My Icebreaker top will wrinkle, but again within one wearing it will be nice and smooth.

  • Amber

    I’m going on my honeymoon in about a month, and this is perfect! We’ll only be gone for a week, but I do need to be prepared for dress down, dress up, and beach wear. I notice that most of your clothes are of very good quality, so it’s no wonder that you can pack and wear and pack and wear without wearing them out quickly!

    Even if jeans aren’t a “smart” pack, if you wear them to your hotel/motel and then on your return trip, they might never have to see your bag. I normally wear my bulkier clothes (jeans, longer sweaters, etc.) on my travel to and from places. I can understand that this would be difficult for people who aren’t staying in a private space, but I’m lucky that I don’t have to worry about squeezing my jeans into a bag.

    • Kit Whelan

      I almost always wear my jeans on travel days for this exact reason :)

      Dresses are by far the most useful item I pack because they can be dressed up or down and be worn as cover-ups on the beach! I love them. Good luck on your honeymoon, and congratulations!

  • Sharmaine

    I’ve just stumbled on your blog accidentally when searching for tips on traveling. It’s amazing what you’ve got here. I’m planning on doing a month long trip to thailand and the surrounding countries and your packing tips are awesome! I was wondering about a few things though. For your space saver bags (the vacuum sealed ones), how do you get all the air out if you don’t have a vacuum? I’ve encountered this problem before and wondered what to do if one wasn’t available. Also, you mentioned all your work is online. I was wondering what was your occupation that you are able to work online? I’m a nurse but I have longed yearned to do exactly what you’re doing and I’d like to have at least a job (online) if finding a nursing job would be more difficult (coz of paperwork: ie licensure in different countries and such) or take a while to get.

    • Kit Whelan

      Hi Sharmaine! Thanks for the kind words :)

      My compression bags (http://www.seeknewtravel.com/essential-gear-compression-packs/) do not require a vacuum, which is why I love them so much! You just roll the air out and you’re good to go.

      I do social media consulting (brands pay me to manage their social media presences) and am starting to get paid to do a bit of writing. Other nomads are software developers, graphic designers, virtual assistants… basically anything you can do from a laptop.

      I just met a woman who works in public health who spends a year at a time in various countries in Africa and Asia working on local projects with NGOs and non-profits. Maybe you could look into something like that with your nursing skills?

      Good luck!

      • Sharmaine

        Thanks for the quick reply! I checked out your space saver bags and how is it that I’m so behind in this? Lol. Anyhow, after looking at the rest of your site, I realized I’ve just missed you! I live in Hawaii. If I had stumbled on this site sooner, I could’ve met you and shown you around as well. =)

        • Kit Whelan

          Well hopefully it won’t be too long until I’m in Hawaii again :)

  • Ma

    Hello Kit!

    Thank so much for sharing this invaluable information! I was wondering what you do when you run out of specific toiletries you like to use, ie. LUSH shampoo bars, or a specific face moisterizer. Do you order them online or stock up? What do you do when you are on the move and aren’t at an address long enough to receive a package?

    Thanks again and safe travels! =)

    • Kit Whelan

      This is why I’m a fan of globalization. LUSH has stores in most major cities, and I can find Neutrogena or Nivea anywhere. I only run out of things every 6-10 weeks, and I don’t usually go that long without stopping in a city. I also tend to stock up on solid things like LUSH shampoo and body butter bars, so I only need to buy two times a year or so. They don’t take up much space, so I keep 2-3 with me at a time.

      If in the rare case I’m in a country that doesn’t have a preferred product I like I stay flexible and buy something new! You never know what great products you’ll discover in a foreign supermarket or pharmacy! :)

      • Ma

        Thank you for all of your tips! :)

  • Jessica

    Great post!! I’ve been trying to decide between a backpack and a rolling suitcase for months. Travelling to Europe for 6 weeks and don’t want to over or under pack. You mentioned that this bag is carry on but I’m wondering how much it weighs?? My carry on limit is only 7 kilos so I’m assuming I would need to check this in.

    Thank yiu

    • Kit Whelan

      According to the website the Aeronaut weighs 3 pounds (about 1.3 kg): http://www.tombihn.com/PROD/TB0906.html

      It’s annoying that airlines have lowered the carry-on limit to 7kg (it was 10-12kg just a few years ago). But in the last four years I’ve only had them weigh my bag once. It was a few weeks ago in Hong Kong, on Virgin Atlantic. My bag was 12 kg, but the agent just said “Do you have a laptop in there?” I said yes, and she said it was no problem.

      The absolute worst case scenario is that you’d have to check, but I have never checked my Aeronaut. It doesn’t look heavy, so people don’t ask to weigh it.

  • Tania Danilenko

    Great blog entry. Although I don’t see myself travelling longer than one or two weeks at a time in the foreseeable future, I can travel “vicariously through you”. I love travel lists and especially “one bag travel”. Next stop for me: Lisbon, Portugal in October. European city girl … (I know you liked Berlin).

    • Kit Whelan

      Thanks Tania! Have fun in Lisbon!

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  • Lakesha Brown

    So glad I met you at WDS because otherwise I wouldn’t know how to pack properly!!! I’ve been doing it wrong all this time LOL Awesome, fantabulous tips here chica! *hugs*

    • http://www.seeknewtravel.com/ Kit Whelan

      SO happy we met!! I’ve got so many ideas spinning around my head thanks to you! **HUGE HUGS**

  • http://collegeinfogeek.com/ Thomas Frank

    This is an awesome packing list! I typically load up my Mac with Steam games and pack a USB Super Nintendo controller instead of my 3DS, but the rest of my list is probably contained within this one :)

    Great meeting you at WDS!

    • http://www.seeknewtravel.com/ Kit Whelan

      Great meeting you, too, Thomas! Hope to catch you again somewhere on the planet and we can battle at Mario Kart ;)

  • Audrey W

    Hi Kit – Like many other readers I discovered your awesome blog while researching how to pack light! I’m a big techie and a chronic overpacker but will be traveling to S Africa and Madagascar on a 6-week trip hiking/diving trip which will include many jumper flights on small planes, so I have to pare it wayyy down… Eek! Terrified but feeling encouraged after reading through (and buying some items on) your packing list… Just wanted to say thank you.

    Also wanted to find out your thoughts on the Osprey wheelie/backpack bags – i just bought the Sojourn after reading many recommendations, but wondering if you’ve ever used this bag type.

    Thanks again for sharing all your great info, and for the packing inspiration. :P

    Happy travels!


    • http://www.seeknewtravel.com/ Kit Whelan

      First: That trip sounds AMAZING! Both South Africa and Madagascar are high on my to-see list. I would love to hear about your trip when you get back!

      Second: I’ve been dedicated to my Tom Bihn backpack for over five years (I prefer a straight-up backpack, but understand that a wheelie would be useful a lot of the time), so I’m afraid I can’t give you a first-hand report on the Sojourn. I have heard it’s great, though!

      Hope you have a wonderful trip!!! :-D

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  • http://www.justrighttravelkit.com Michelle Walburn

    I love your outfits, especially that blue dress in the “Ladies, This is How You Pack Clothes.” I wish I would have seen this way earlier. Anyway, I have a question about packing light. Its probably a bit TMI, but I sweat….a lot. So when I think about packing light like that I imagine all my clothes soaked in sweat and stinky. Any thoughts on this?

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